Friday, April 26, 2013

Year 3: Week 29 - Preparing To Leave

It’s amazing how much more productive I was this week with my shadow at my side.

The person covering my paternity leave was with me this week and followed me around to get to know my job and my kids. Nothing will make you work more diligently than having someone with you watching how you work. It’s not that I was trying to prove anything to her, but of course I wanted to put on a good face and her being here reminded of how much I had to do to prepare to leave.

The hardest part about this paternity leave is that I don’t know when it’s going to start. The plan is for me to leave once Diana goes into labor which could be anywhere between now and the last week of school. Recently, I was really worried about the fact that I would have to make detailed lesson plans from now until the end of the year. That’s a lot of work that I didn’t really have time to do.

After meeting my substitute and working with her, my mind is much more at ease. She’s not the kind of teacher who needs detailed lesson plans from me and she gets the way students learn and how to pace the class.  All she needs curricular materials and outline of concepts and skills.

I’m caught up with the fact that on some level I want it all. Coming up there’s concerts, performances and the events that mark the end of the year that I really want to be a part of. At the same time, not having to deal with the work and the stress of these events and being able to focus on my baby seems like a great trade-off and one that I would embrace. It’s just tough right now telling kids that I may not be there for these important events.

With my baby boy in my arms on the night of our spring concert, will I even be thinking about that performance? I like to think that I would without dwelling on it and simply feel at peace knowing that my kids at school are being well taken care of while I’m at home taking of my baby.

I love my kids at school, and I know my feeling for my own kid will be different, but I’m excited to find out how that feels and what that means. There will be lines that need to be drawn between my students and my own child, there will be priorities that need to be adjusted and sometimes it’s going to be tough.

Right now, I’m feeling better than I ever have about taking my leave knowing that I have a competent substitute and that she has all the information from me that she needs to step right in when I make my exit. At the same time, I feel a little sad about leaving. One of my third graders asked me if I could tell my baby to come later so that she wouldn’t have to miss me when I go.   How can you hear that and not feel something?

Anyways, I know that this leave will be for the best, not only for my personal life but my school. It was a maternity leave that gave me one of the most important teaching experiences of my career and allowed me to contribute things that were meaningful to my students.

Whenever you're ready to come little guy, I'll be there for you with all of my time, attention and my love.

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